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24/7 Wall St. Website
September 18, 2014

24/7 Wall St. website ranks Hoover among top 30 places to live in U.S.
by Jon Anderson

HOOVER, Alabama The 24/7 Wall St. website this week ranked Hoover as being in the top 30 cities in which to live in the United States.

The website reviewed data on the 550 cities with populations of 65,000 or more and considered variables such as employment growth, crime rates, educational attainment and housing affordability.

24/7 Wall St. named the top 50 cities in which to live and put Hoover at No. 28. Hoover was the only city from Alabama on the list and one of 15 in the South.

The labor market was a key consideration in the website's rankings. In order to be considered, a city needed positive employment growth between 2011 and 2013. Seventy cities did not meet this standard, but Hoover had a 2.17 percent employment growth in that time period, according to 24/7 Wall St. Hoover's unemployment rate of 3.8 percent in 2013 was lower than in all but eight cities reviewed and ranked as the fourth lowest rate among the top 50 best places to live. The national unemployment rate in 2013 was 7.4 percent.

The 24/7 Wall St. website eliminated any cities with an unemployment rate of more than 9.8 percent, which excluded more than 100 cities from consideration.

Just 5.7 percent of the people in Hoover lived below the poverty line in 2013, versus 15.9 percent nationally. Hoover's median household income was $70,583 far higher than the national median but twice as high as the median home value in Alabama, according to 24/7 Wall St. The cost of living in Hoover was in line with national averages, the website said. Cities with median household incomes less than 90 percent of the state median income received a lower score, and cities that had median incomes exceeding 150 percent of the state median also were penalized for imposing high-income barriers on potential residents.

Of cities with 65,000 people or more, Hoover ranked among the safest in the United States, with a violent crime rate of just 104.5 incidents per 100,000 people, based on FBI data from 2012. Roughly half the 550 cities examined were excluded from consideration for the top 50 because they had property or violent crime rates that were at least 25 percent higher than the 2012 national rates.

According to the RealtyTrac housing market data site, "quality of education is the No. 1 issue home buyers ask about," so the 24/7 Wall St. website also evaluated cities based on average test scores in their schools compared to their state average and the percentage of adults age 25 and older with at least a bachelor's degree (56 percent in Hoover). Hoover's overall education score was the 22nd highest among the top 50 best places to live, though not necessarily the 22nd highest in the nation.

Other factors considered, to a lesser extent, by 24/7 Wall St. were the environment, available leisure activities and infrastructure. Hoover's environment score ranked 28th among the top 50, taking into account factors such as air quality, average temperatures and amount of rainfall.

The city ranked 23rd among the top 50 in leisure activities, considering the availability of restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, theater companies, sports teams, golf courses, parks, playgrounds and zoos. Hoover ranked 43rd among the top 50 in infrastructure. The website considered things such as the accessibility of airports and hospitals, the percentage of residents who use public transportation or walk to get to work, and the average commute time to work. In Hoover, the average commuter spends 24.4 minutes getting to work, which ranked the city 27th among the top 50 cities in commute time.


 

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